Friday, January 6, 2012

I've got mad MacGyver skills, yo!

Thursday started quite uneventfully. The kids went to school,I had a quiet morning perusing the internet - and discovered a family craft site that lists all the "holidays" of each month. The monthly holidays: January is Blood Donor Month, eye care month, and Braille Literacy month, for example (as well as soup, hot tea, and oatmeal month!). And each day of the month has a special event to celebrate: January 5th was Bird Day, a day to watch birds, learn about birds, build birdhouses and bird feeders, all things birds! I realized some of these "days" could be inspiration for creations throughout the year, starting with the January 6th project. Stay tuned!

But Thursday - I needed an oil change, and my mom was coming home from Germany, where she was visiting my sister and her family for Christmas. The past two weeks have been somewhat stressful for me; my brother got entry into her townhome while she was gone, and locked me out. I couldn't do anything about it. You see, my brother has stayed with my mom off and on for years. He can't keep a job, he has too many failed relationships to even count, he has drug and alcohol problems, and undiagnosed/unresolved mental health issues (this is speculation on my part, but it's pretty obvious; most likely a bipolar disorder). He is also verbally abusive to our mother, steals from her, bullies and begs her for money, and generally puts so much stress on her emotionally that she has horrible short-term memory issues. Yes, she's 78 years old, her short-term memory has been bad for a while, but now she's easily confused, and she can't remember simple things. There was a whole issue with her keys before she left - she gave me her house keys, and told me one of them would lock her storm door. Turns out, it's her mailbox key, and she either doesn't have a key for her storm door, or it's lost.

She also told me she didn't have a key for the new deadbolt lock on her front door. This was really confusing to me, because I had all of her entry locks rekeyed in September - the front door and the garage entry door, two deadbolts and two door handles, all opened with the same key. Turns out, my brother had kicked in her door after they were rekeyed, because he was locked out, and damaged the deadbolt lock. The neighbors called the police at the time, and they asked him to leave the townhouse complex, but my mom didn't press any charges, and let him into her home. Because of this, the police can't do anything about his presence in her home. He's not "trespassing", because he's considered a resident of the home.  So, kicked in door, damaged deadbolt. Mom got a new deadbolt (only the deadbolt, not a deadbolt/door handle combo that would have the same key!), brother installed it and never gave Mom a key for the deadbolt! First, Mom said there wasn't a key for the deadbolt; when I explained there had to be keys that came with it, she said she didn't know where it was. So my brother had a key for the deadbolt, and I had no way to lock it when nobody was at the townhome. Unless I left through the underground garage, which I should have done in hindsight, then the storm door and deadbolt on the front door could have been locked from the inside. But he still would have gotten in, because he had a key for the deadbolt!

I thought he came in through the underground garage; this is what my mom told me. He had somehow disabled her garage door opener, so the door has to be opened by hand and can't be locked. So I barricaded the garage entry door, and the door at the top of the entry stairs; didn't matter, he entered through the front door, cleared away the chairs blocking the other doors - and then removed the actual bolt from the garage door deadbolt, and the tongue from the door handle. The visible parts, the handles and the deadbolt covers, were still there, but the door couldn't be locked or latched. Which means he had every intention of entering through the garage in the future, though why he thought we wouldn't notice the deactivated locks is beyond me. The locks were replaced last night, only one key is required for all the locks on the two doors, and she only has one copy; my husband and I have the rest at our house.

I know I'm leaving out a lot of backstory, but this has been going on for years. It's reached a point where I have to intervene legally, obtain power of attorney and possibly have my mother labeled as a vulnerable adult. She's still cognizent enough to agree to power of attorney, and she understands this is ultimately for her protection, but she's afraid to give up her autonomy. I understand that, but it needs to be done now, before something devastating happens, or her health and memory deteriorate too much.

I could claim a "created a safer home entry system" for my mom as my daily project; but I had already planned what I was going to make! I have a knitting project that has been in process for several months, and I need a stitch marker for the pattern.

When I started the project, I was out of town and didn't have all of my knitting paraphenalia with me, so I had to MacGyver a stitch marker out of a button and a small rubber band. (yes, I used "MacGyver" as a verb - so what?) Even when I returned home, I still used the makeshift stitch marker. But now, I have several lovely new stitch markers, for this project and many more:
I used beads and clear elastic for two of them, and beads, jump rings and jewelry hardware for the fancy dangly stitch marker! The part that goes on the needle is a circle clasp for a bracelet or necklace, and the beads are on jump rings that attach to the clasp.

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